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DGI Brief - Oct 5, 2016

Happy Wednesday, all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #USA #EU #poverty #UnitedNations and #Colombia:

- USA: Hurricane Matthew, that caused >11 deaths in the Caribbean, downgraded to Category 3 storm but is predicted to wreak havoc across the coast lines of Florida, Georgia & the Carolinas by Thursday/Friday. State officials urge massive evacuations with many people complying while others being dismissive of the strongest storm since Wilma in October 2005. That storm killed 5 people in Florida and caused est. $21 billion in damage. Why it matters: It is very dangerous to underestimate extreme weather in our time – with global warming come rising sea levels which means every weather event could be unprecedented. You may be a veteran in weathering storms for decades, but this is an entirely different situation. Just ask NJ & NY about Hurricane Sandy. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

- EUROPEAN UNION: The European Commission is ready to explore the “excellent”, “bold” &“ambitious” proposal to provide every European student who completes their secondary education (avg. 16-19yr olds) a free InterRail ticket to travel around Europe during one month. EC still has to study the logistics & ROI benchmarks – the scheme is estimated to run btw 1.2 – 2.88 billion Euros - but astoundingly all major political groups in the European Parliament support the idea. Why it matters: You can’t like what you don’t know. The return on investment into travel, meeting different people, cultures, history, art & everything else related to expanding your horizons is truly priceless. About 6 million European teenagers could benefit from this initiative every year, translating into 6 million better informed, more open-minded & compassionate human beings. All aboard!

- Around the WORLD, almost 385 million children must survive on <$1.80 a day, an international poverty line indicating extreme poverty according to the newest study by World Bank & UNICEF. Over half of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa (51%), while 36% are in South Asia. Why it matters: The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 & this most recent study shows meeting this deadline will be more than difficult. Extreme poverty for children leads to often irreversible consequences in health – stunted development, malnutrition that leads to cognitive disabilities – and education, as well as perpetual transmission of poverty across generations. Governments & development groups will have to intensify their efforts, and businesses everywhere can play a huge role…often more effectively.

- Today, members of the UNITED NATIONS Security Council unanimously backed Portugal’s former PM & former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to become the next UN Secretary-General. Why it matters: it is disappointing that neither of the 7 female candidates made the top of the list in the six informal polls, but Mr. Guterres is indeed one of the best, most qualified men in the race. His familiarity with the UN system & his proven record & passion for human rights will hopefully help him improve the UN so that it can improve the world. Congrats, sir.

- COLOMBIA’s President Santos announced that bilateral ceasefire with the FARC will end on October 31 after voters rejected the painstakingly negotiated peace agreement that promised to end 52 years of war. FARC leader “Timochenko” responded “and from then on the war continues?” while his commanders ordered repositioning of all units “to avoid provocations”. Why it matters: The country has plunged into deep, scary uncertainty since 68% of the population didn’t bother voting in the referendum – now dangerous power play looms as different paramilitary/illegal armed groups may try to take advantage & seize FARC’s territory. Those opposing the peace deal – like former president, alleged war criminal & next presidential hopeful Uribe – are ok if peace negotiations take another 20 years, seemingly indifferent to the future lives lost. Do you know what makes diplomats heroic? We will never walk away from peace, even when others turn their backs on it, choose hatred & violence over dialogue & compromise, thirst for revenge over reconciliation, extreme rhetoric over common sense, nothing over something.

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